PIQUA — Chainsaw sculptor Dayle Lewis will be one of the featured artists at Mainstreet Piqua’s 24th annual Taste of the Arts on Friday, May 11, from 5-9 p.m. Lewis will be demonstrating his craft in front of the Schmidlapp Building on Main Street.
Lewis, who was raised on a dairy farm in Pratt, Kansas, and holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Kansas State University, started hand wood carving in 1992. A self-taught artist, he began chainsaw carving in 1996. His carvings have won awards at many woodcarving shows.
“My hand-carving experience was an advantage in becoming skilled with the chainsaw,” he said. “My favorite type of wood to use is Catalpa, but I have carved in about every kind of wood there is.”
Lewis teaches classes at Hayes Arboretum in Richmond, Indiana, and has taught over 1,600 people from the ages of 8 to 88 in various cities and states. Currently, he does 90 percent chainsaw and 10 percent hand carving.
“I do approximately 325 carvings a year,” said Lewis, who is well-known for his woodspirits and authored a how-to book carving a woodspirit with step-by-step instructions and lots of photos.
“My ultimate challenge was creating a 20-foot mountain man from a standing oak tree. There is now an eight-foot dog beside him, and a raccoon and squirrels! I have also been able to travel to hurricane-ravaged areas, where I have converted damaged logs into sculptures that were sold for the relief fund to help the people in those regions. Those were very special projects for me to do,” he said.
Lewis has garnered several awards in his trade over the years, including a second-place finish in all of Michigan in 2011 and 2012.
“Carving is very relaxing for me. It is really enjoyable to create something for someone from an idea or a picture,” he said. “It’s a real joy to show them the final product and see their faces light up!”
Mainstreet Piqua Executive Director Lorna Swisher said there will be another “special” treat” at Taste of the Arts this year: sidewalk chalking with Sheryl Lazenby.
“Sheryl will be doing sidewalk chalking in front of Ken-Mar all day,” Swisher said. “Her work will be completed by 6 p.m. that night, so attendees will want to be sure to check out her talents that evening while at the Taste of the Arts event.”
For more information about Taste of the Arts, contact Swisher at (937) 773-9355 or visit piquatasteofthearts.com.